The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe
Our understanding of God's perception of us is vital in motivating genuine faithfulness to Him. He calls us to follow Him "as dear children," that is, we are to know God as a father who cherishes us and counts us as precious to Himself.
"Be therefore followers of God, as dear children" (Ephesians 5:1).
Many believers do not live their Christian lives in this blessed atmosphere of grace and truth. Too many sins and failures have consigned them to the notion that God is so displeased that there is little reason to expect His loving favor. Sin certainly constitutes a serious matter in the believer's life. Being "dear children" does not preclude our Lord's displeasure with carnal words, attitudes, and actions. Nor does it mean that He will not chasten us if necessary (Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 12:6). However, in the most elemental sense of our person and being, God graces us with His eternal favor in Christ as a free gift (Ephesians 4:24). We are "accepted in the Beloved," our Father is "for us," and we are spiritually enrobed in the very righteousness of Christ Himself (Ephesians 1:6; Romans 8:31; I Corinthians 1:30).
Growing awareness of such Biblical assurance begets growing desire in the believer to respond in heartfelt devotion, faith and obedience. Love begets love (I John 4:19). Our Father has no interest in a mere grudging obedience characterized by stark notions of duty and discipline (Deuteronomy 28:47). Certainly we will be dutiful and disciplined as we walk with our Lord. Note, however, that such internal self governance proceeds from living relationship and fellowship with God. "The fruit of the Spirit is… temperance" (self control - Galatians 5:23). Our Heavenly Father works to redeem the entirety of our being, with the heart always as His primary focus and scene of grace (I Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 4:23). Thus, our growing awareness of His heart toward us forms within us a powerfully effectual perception that changes us into God's own image and motivates genuine and responsive love to His love (II Corinthians 3:18).
How "dear" are we? Eternity will not be long enough to exhaust the answer to this question. The brightest light of our belovedness, however, shines forth from the darkness of Calvary. Our Heavenly Father loves us to the degree He sent His beloved Son to suffering forsakenness and death on a cross of horror in order to save us. Words don't adequately convey the reality, but they do change us as we ponder them more and more. May such contemplation fill our hearts, and may our following the Lord become increasingly faithful as we realize our place in our Father's heart heart as "dear children."
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Weekly Memory Verse
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
(I John 4:10)